Why the worst matter

(This picture somehow seems appropriate)

We all feel this way at some point. Every time she shows her face- be it in concert, the middle of a music video, or on TV, we cringe. We want her gone. We wish the cameraman would stop worrying about spending somewhat equal time on all of the members, and just stay the heck away from this one.*

She’s a different member for each of us, but every wota can identify her in a heartbeat: Their least favorite.

I’m fairly vocal about my least favorite members, and even my friends who aren’t H!P fans (IE all of my friends…) can at least point to Risako or Reina and say “She’s the one you don’t like, right?”

So yes, I can’t stand Reina or Risako. I don’t like ManoEri either, although she’s kind of a special case (in that I’m terrified of her). I’m not going to talk about why I dislike these girls in this post. I feel like I mention my reasoning in every other post I make, and for the purpose of this article, reasons actually don’t matter all that much. I dislike these girls, and that’s all there is to it.


(Pure, murderous intent)

Whenever my least favorite gets half of the lines in their respective singles, I rail and rant about the unfairness. “It should have been Maasa/Captain/Lin/Sayumi/insertunderratedidolhere!” I say, closing my eyes in despair at the unfairness of it all.

However, there’s another layer to my Idol-Wota relationship when it comes to the least favorites. I dislike them, yes. But that’s not all.

I recently re-watched Berryz Koubou’s 2009 Aki ~Medachitai~ tour, and the above video made me angry enough to leave a comment essentially detailing everything that I hated about Risako. Someone else commented and agreed with me, and at first I was all happy to have found someone who felt the same as I did. But something in their comment didn’t sit right with me. This was their original comment (sorry, I can’t find the video again, and I don’t remember my exact comment) :

” I know! I can’t even say how much I hate her.😛 She’s the worst in the group and she’s getting all the lines! I can’t say how much better my life would be if she just left Berryz forever. She’s just plain gross!”

What? Leave the group? Berryz Koubou without Risako’s annoying, pouty, face? Inconceivable!

I may hate on Risako. I may scream with indignation whenever Reina thinks that, just for a change, she’ll wink during her solo line. But I would never, ever want to see either of their groups without them.

This is the part where you, reader, will sit back and say to yourself “Rebecca, I read your blog because it occasionally makes me laugh, think, cough up phlegm, or do all three at once. I enjoy your solid convictions against your least favorites. What up?” I will tell you what is up, dear reader. Least favorites are essential to keeping interest in a group alive. Without them, my favorite groups would be cool and groovy rage-free zones, yes, but also terribly dull.

(Do I really want her out of the picture?)

Not convinced? Stay with me.

Take C-ute. I have my favorite in Okai Chisato. I champion her, and I like to say that her sultry vocals can spread world peace. But C-ute is my least favorite of all of H!P’s main groups, and I barely pay attention to them. I surely devote less time to them than BK or Morning Musume (for the sake of arguments, I’m leaving out S/mileage. They’re too new). And guess what? C-ute is the sole group without one member that I dislike. True, sometimes I whine about Nakky’s duck voice, but she is just so pretty and good at dancing. Yeah, Airi has pretty much taken over the group’s singles, but damnit, she’s gorgeous and talented, and if anyone’s going to have a solo single, it ought to be her. Maimi is a freakishly gorgeous cyborg woman, and Maimai is turning into a beautiful young lady.

When I watch C-ute’s concerts, there’s no suspense. I don’t care who gets a line or when, because no one in the group makes me rage. In fact, I tend to skip over most of C-ute’s performances, because I know that they’ll be good enough, but lacking anything that I need to watch out for. After Erika and Kanna left, I didn’t worry about who their lines would be performed by because as far as I was concerned, it could be anyone and I’d be happy.

When I finished watching C-ute’s Shocking Live tour, I felt like I’d watched a good concert. I ate some rice pudding. I felt guilty about doing so even though I wasn’t hungry, then remembered that I’m Jewish and that eating and feeling guilty is what we do. I felt better. I went to bed.

Cut to Morning Musume’s Genki Pikka Pikka tour. My god. I was practically glued to the screen during group songs, flashing back and forth between Youtube and Project!Hello’s colorcodes, wringing my hands and wondering who was going to get Kusumi’s lines. I was on an emotional roller coaster. I cheered when Linlin sang “Torokeru torokeru yumegokochi” in Aishite Aishite Ato Ippun, groaned when Reina (and Ai)  got all of the graduated Nutjob’s lines in Resonant Blue. It should have been Sayumi- her voice would have been squeaky, but at least it would have been someone different. I commented multiple times to that effect, and with each new performance I felt something new- rage, happiness, relief, and at one point, extreme hatred toward all maxi dresses ever.

(I hope this fad is eaten by Lady Gaga and dies.)

What that concert was over, I stayed up late writing this article, then talked on the phone for an hour with my cousin (who is tolerant of my Wotaism and even occasionally indulges in some herself). I went to bed tired, partially annoyed, but more importantly, really excited to see the next Momusu concert. Who knows? Maybe the lines would be rearranged. Maybe Reina would lose her voice and be forced to sit to the side for the entire concert, desperately winking every time the camera swivels past her on its way to someone more talented (hey, I didn’t say that I wouldn’t mind the groups without Reina or Rii’s voices. Just their presence.😉 )

So yes. I will continue to preach dislike of my least favorites. I might cry a little bit when once again, Saki is pushed to the back in favor of Risako. But you won’t hear me wish them out of the group. Hello! Project is all the better for their presence.

(…Yeah.)

*No, I’m not talking about Aika on a bad hair day ( Y’know. Most days).

9 Responses to Why the worst matter

  1. Dran says:

    On a slightly releated note. What would have irked me about that comment is the phrase “worst member”.

    I earned myself something of a reputation on IRC for being something of a Nazi. Pro Maasa, and Anti AKB. My two most well-defined traits. But putting the AKB aside, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a Maasa fan. Even my friend in real life, who doesn’t know who Berryz Koubou are, and despises JPop like it was the very cancer that killed his dog knows it. The other day, I was talking about something unimportant, and the words “My favourite member” were mentioned – to which he replied “That’s Maasa isn’t it?”

    He doesn’t know who Maasa is. But he knows that I am her fan – and leader of a religion created in her name.

    Anyway, back to my point. One evening in IRC, a certain Hello!Online user stated, after a discussion about Maasa, that “Maasa is the worst member in Berryz.” Just flat out said it. Now, here’s the interesting point. Had he said, “I don’t like Maasa, because…” or “Maasa is my least favourite member, because…” it wouldn’t have bothered me. Had he justified his opinion, I would have defended Maasa, and make it my mission in life to get him to like her. But there was no justification. It wasn’t presented as an opinion (“I think that”) but as a fact. (“Maasa is the worst member”)

    That tone really pissed me off, and when prompted and failed to provide any justification (“She just is.”), I assumed he was trolling and kickbanned him. To this day, he insists that I was on a powertrip and that he wasn’t trolling at all.

    Of course the ban wasn’t permenant, and I unbanned him again after a few days. But he never returned, and never spoke to me again for months.

    Anyway, back to the point that was presented in your post.

    I don’t really have that many members that are still in Hello!Project that I don’t like. I have my fair share of former H!P members that I hate (Kago Ai, Goto Maki, to name but a few). Until recently I hated Aika too. She appeared last on my Hello!Blog poll ranking this year. Then I went to see MM in Paris, and returned an Aika fan as she paid more attention to us than any other member. Waving at us and blowing kisses or whatever during the signing sessions… We all came home again with the idea in mind that Aika wasn’t as bad as we had thought.

    But yeah. In some regards, I’m enjoying my H!P fandom at the moment much more so than I have for a long time, but I have no real discernable “least favourite members” so to speak of. Members that I don’t really know much about, or are kind of grouped together with a dozen other people in my ranking, maybe. But none that I don’t like.

    So yeah, I don’t really think that the fandom would get dull if there were no members you didn’t like. It might, and I can see why you say so, but I don’t think that it necissarily would.

  2. Usa-chan says:

    Firstly, wow. Thank you so much for your comment. It’s rare to get comments that are so insightful and indicative of time being spent on them.

    I do believe (based on some later comments) that the commenter meant that Risako was the worst in the group at singing, not just “The Worst.” However, I get what you mean. If someone said “so and so is the worst” without so much as a word of backup, I’d probably rage. Even if it were someone like Rii or Reina or ManoEri. I’d want proof. Partially because I like to really think about my fandom, and “because I said so” doesn’t cut it with me, but also partially because it’s disrespectful. Yeah, I say that I hate this or that member, but that’s a conclusion that I arrived at after a long time, with a lot of fact or opinion to back it up. I mean, there was a time when Risako was actually my favorite Berry (okay,all of two days back when I was just learning their names), and I can still remember why. Just making a snap judgment for no reason is not fair to the idol or her group.

    Hmmm…
    I wondner how long you’ve been a fan? I don’t mean that in a condescending way, I just think it’d be interesting if you’ve been a fan a lot longer or not nearly as long as I have. I feel as though I’m at a stage at which I need some kind of conflict within the fandom to keep my attention.

    I rely on concerts as a main way of keeping up with individual members’ growth as performers. I can’t see them live, and I don’t have the patience to sit down and watch a TV interview and struggle through what they’re saying with my limited Japanese all the time. I’ve said it before, but H!P performances are basically just re-hashes of old songs being performed by different girls in ever crazier costumes. I don’t get bored during concerts, but there are definitely times when I stop and think to myself “Why am I watching Special Generation again? Nothing’s new.” When concerts are the main way I interact with H!P, I think it’s easier for me to find myself bored.

    Hmmm…

  3. Dran says:

    Hahaha. After I posted it, I realised that I’ve probably written entire blog posts themselves that were shorter.

    I’m a Mano Erina fan. I’d rank her among my Top 5 all-time Idols. But weirdly, I first started reading your blog after I stumbled across your two Mano Erina posts sometime last year. They were hilarious. And you didn’t just say the usual crap about Mano (“She’s boring”, “Her music is dull”, whatever), you provided a little more justification – humorous or not. Ask most Mano haters why they think her music is dull or boring, and they probably can’t give you a solid reason beyond “it just is”.

    I used to hate Risako too. Quite stupid, really. It was back in the days I was first becoming a Berryz fan. I believed wholeheartedly that Risako was stealing too much of the spotlight from Maasa. I since realised that it was stupid to hate her over something like that and she’s become an awesome part of Berryz for me.

    How long have I been a fan? 3 and a half years. Started with Momusu as a Yossy fan back in January 2007, then turned Berryz around the start of 2008 and have been a dedicated Beriwota since.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Haha! Well, I’m glad something I wrote could inspire such a thing.

    Awww, thank you! I actually got a message from someone ranting at me for those posts (Something along the lines of “You’re being needlessly cruel I hate you you suck stop writing forever or I’m gonna tell on you”), so it’s nice to hear that someone liked them. I do mean them wholeheartedly. There’s only one aprt of Mano that doesn’t scare me (her booty. It’s very attractive). I get why people like her. She seems sweet and committed and appreciative of her fans. I just think it’s all an act. One day she’ll show her true colors…😄

    Haha, maybe I’m just too stubborn. Rii is an awesome part of Berryz for me- but only because I dislike her so much. I love to hate her. It also makes me appreciate it that much more when she sounds really good, as she occasionally does (I actually love the tone of her voice. It’s just her lack of control that makes me cringe). She’s like the opposite of Momoko, whose vocal tone is like nails on a chalkboard, but has superb control.

    Interesting- we’ve been fans about the same amount of time (four years for myself, although I started out with Berryz).

  5. Arche-JoIyO says:

    I adore Risako with all my heart, every comment about her being (insert horrible adjective about her) hurts me a little everyday. Anyways, I try to be a supportive fan and not an annoying one. I try to spread the love instead of insulting haters. That’s much more effective IMO, I’ve already turned 2 Risako haters into Risako lovers that way😄

    Anyways, I’m happy you don’t want her out of the group. You may hate her, but actually all the girls in Berryz love Risako. No, I’m not being biased😄 they really love her, like a younger sister that needs support (Risako is really self-concious)… Captain is especially sweet with her.

    Captain is……………. dunno. She wants every single member to shine instead of herself. Captain is that sweet mom that want her children to be more successful than she could be, I think she actually likes Risako being pushed at the front. I wish they could make Captain the lead of a single, though. I really do love her and I wish I could see more of her.

    And… I don’t really hate anyone in H!P right now, I used to have a big time hating on Kusumi, but then I realized how awesome the girl was and had a bigger time being a fan of her. It feels amazing not feeling that kind of hate anymore😄

    • Usa-chan says:

      I’m glad for you!

      I must say that every time I use the word “hate,” I do feel a little bit bad. I think that hate isn’t really the appropriate word for what I feel for my least favorites- because I do value them for what their presence brings to the group, even if all that is for me is someone to compare the others to.

      I’m not sure I’m saying it right. It’s like… I couldn’t really hate Risako. When I think back to the beginning of my time as a fan, when I was just learning about Berryz, and learning about Risako in particular, that’s a memory that I hold very dearly. I can’t hate someone that has created such fond memories for me.

      I agree with your opinion on Saki- it’s spot on. It makes me sad sometimes, though. I think she’s the humble sort who wouldn’t be at all hurt to see herself pushed to the back all of the time, and I want to feel bad for her for it… but why should I? That’s just the kind of person she is.

  6. Mica says:

    You make a very interesting point.

    Would I love seeing Linlin get more screen time to show off her vocals?
    Heck yes.

    Would I want to shove all the idols I didn’t like out so that would happen?
    No.

    Even though I wouldn’t admit this at first, the idols that annoy me still bring something to the groups. Without them, the groups would be different, not necessarily better or worse, but definitely missing something.

    It is the fans that made me realize that all the idols have appeal to them, even if that appeal isn’t apparent to me. After reading fan accounts and the like about, say Sayumi, I am able to acknowledge that even though she cannot sing well, she is very funny and has a more humble, human side to herself. I would have never discovered this based on her “ichiban kawaii” persona alone. She gets discouraged at her singing and dancing, discovers love for idol groups, and has her ups and downs like most people do.

    Even though I may get extremely annoyed at Reina’s winking, wince at the lack of control in Risako’s voice or facepalm at the high pitched-ness of C-ute, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t take them away from the entire group.

    Because they still bring something special that will be missed if it is taken away. I just need to have the patience to see it.

    • Usa-chan says:

      ♥ I’m getting the best comments on this post. Thank you!

      This is exactly how I feel. You’ve just stated it more eloquently and more precisely than I ever could.

      Hmm… do you want to write my blog for me?😄

  7. […] Why the worst matter (Aoi♥Usagi) […]

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